The Scottish Senior Open will return to the heartland of Scotland’s celebrated Golf Coast in East Lothian for the fourth successive year when Craigielaw Golf Club stages the 26th edition of the event on the newly re-branded Staysure Tour from September 14-16, 2018.
Craigielaw, the property of landowner, the Earl of Wemyss, was built in 1998 and opened for play in 2001. The construction of the course was part of the Wemyss family’s decision to diversify the estate land from more traditional businesses into golf and tourism.
The widely-regarded golf course architects, Donald Steel & Co., were commissioned to design a layout on the Craigielaw site, adding to an already robust local golfing landscape. The Wemyss family have a deep-rooted connection to golf, not only as owners of four local East Lothian courses but as original signatories of the Society of St Andrews Golfers, which later became The R&A.
With challenging greens, cavernous bunkers and spectacular views over the Firth of Forth, Gullane Hill and out towards Edinburgh and Fife, the 6601-yard, par 71 Craigielaw course draws inspiration from the great links courses of Britain, particularly those on land which are less dominated by dunes.
The venue, just 18 miles from Edinburgh City Centre, is equal to many of the finest examples of such courses, some of which are conveniently located nearby in the East Lothian area.
Despite still being a relatively new venue, Craigielaw has already been host to several Scottish amateur events at boys, girls and youths level, as well as the 2006 Scottish Amateur Stroke-play Championship.
In 2007, Craigielaw forged a new relationship with Senior golf for the first time as one of the Qualifying Courses for the 2007 Senior Open Championship, which was won by golfing great, Tom Watson, at nearby Muirfield.
This will be the eighth different venue for the Scottish Senior Open, which began in 1993 and has enjoyed an unbroken run since then. Over the past three seasons, the tournament has been played in East Lothian at Archerfield (2015 and 2016) and Renaissance Club (2017). England’s Paul Broadhurst claimed the title in 2015 and for a second time last year, with fellow countryman, Paul Eales, taking the spoils in 2016.
Previous winners include Senior Tour legends such as five-time John Jacobs Trophy winner, the late Tommy Horton, who won the inaugural event, and again in 1997; Brian Huggett, winner in 1995, and Ryder Cup legend Sam Torrance, the 2006 champion.
The tournament will incorporate the popular Alliance format, with amateurs given the opportunity to play alongside the professional for the first two tournament rounds. A pro-am will also take place on Thursday, September 13.
Jonathan Porteous, Director of Golf at Craigielaw Golf Club, said: “The team here at Craigielaw are looking forward to welcoming such a prestigious event on the Staysure Tour. Craigielaw is a modern, forward thinking, welcoming golf club that has superb off-course facilities and a golf course that will provide the players with excellent playing conditions and a fantastic test of golf."
David MacLaren, Head of the Staysure Tour (formerly the European Senior Tour), said: “We are delighted to have secured an outstanding new venue in Craigielaw Golf Club for the Scottish Senior Open’s fourth visit to East Lothian in as many years.
“East Lothian has few peers in the U.K. as a centre of golfing excellence, and Craigielaw, as a relative newcomer to the scene, has undoubtedly enhanced the landscape since opening for play in 2001. The Wemyss family and all of the team at Craigielaw Golf Club deserve this opportunity to showcase their superb facilities when the top stars compete for one of the most prestigious titles on the Staysure Tour in September.”
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, VisitScotland said: “We are thrilled that Craigielaw Golf Club has been announced as the host venue for the 2018 Scottish Senior Open in September. Craigielaw is another first-class course on Scotland’s Golf Coast with a modern and family focused approach. This beautiful links venue provides the perfect stage for the Staysure Tour and will further enhance Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf.”
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “I’m genuinely delighted that the Scottish Senior Open is returning to Scotland’s Golf Coast for the fourth successive year. Craigielaw Golf Club will further underline the region’s ability to deliver top class tournament venues.
“The quality of our golf is second to none and, despite being a relative newcomer to our wonderful portfolio, Craigielaw will encourage even more golfers to come and experience the game in East Lothian.”